News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Traditional banking hall with customers, and tellers behind glass

 news briefing.

1. UK – FinTech 

P2P Finance News looks at changing working practices in the direct lending sector.

“Peer-to-peer lending platforms have followed the rest of the economy by shifting to remote working during the pandemic and many of the changes could remain permanent even as lockdown restrictions ease.

The nation is slowly being encouraged to go back to work and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged employees to travel to the office rather than work from home.

P2P lenders have slowly started planning to reopen their offices and there are signs of some lockdown-inspired changes.

Money&Co has said it will reopen its offices fully in September but founder Nicola Horlick has decided staff will be able to work from home every Friday.

“It is usually the worst day of the week to come in and out of town,” she said.

“Our systems are geared up to working remotely so we don’t all need to be in the office every day.”

Filip Karadaghi, managing director of LandlordInvest, said the buy-to-let lending platform has embraced remote working even before the pandemic.

However, he said it still needs to fit in with a company’s strategic and operational objectives.

“I personally would expect that things will go back to normal once the crisis is over, although perhaps remote working will be more common than before the crisis,” he said.

“A company and its staff’s working arrangement is important to meet the company’s strategic and operational goals, including ensuring that customers are being treated fairly.

“It is up to each company to decide if their working arrangements achieves the company’s strategic and operational objectives and make necessary changes if it does not.”

David Bradley-Ward, chief executive of Ablrate, added that working from an office is more efficient.

“We have no plans to make remote working permanent,” he said.

“It was an interesting time and we learned a lot, however working together in the office is just more efficient for our business.

“I can imagine that if you are in a city environment with lots of commuting for your staff and high rents that you may be thinking differently now.

“Our staff have a view of golf course, in a beautiful part of the world and lots of facilities so we haven’t seen any appetite for working from home permanently.

“What we have learned is that managing home workers is reasonably easy if you have the right tools, so we would not write off taking on people who do want to work from home.”


2. UK - FinTech

Where are they now? AltFi revisits the founders of some of the major direct lending platforms.

3. International – FinTech

Onfido has signed up one of the largest banks in Poland to use its ID verification technology for the bank’s mobile account opening. AltFi reports:

“Alior Bank, which counts over 3m personal and 126,000 business customers, said it was prompted by Covid-19 to improve its digital onboarding process leading it to Onfido.

“Customers’ convenience as well as security and accessibility of new solutions are our highest priorities. said Iwona Duda, acting CEO at Alior Bank.

“The capacity to open an account using only your mobile is a first step towards building a virtual ecosystem of products from various categories, not only finance.”

Alior said it had seen a 200 per cent jump in new mobile banking registrations since Covid-19 restrictions and health recommendations had come into force, with only 40 per cent of its customers saying they intend to return to branch banking in the future.”

4. International – FinTech

UK TechNews reports:

“One Peak, a technology investor for growth stage companies in Europe, has announced the closing of One Peak Growth II at its hard cap of €443 million ($507 million).

The fund was reported to be oversubscribed, taking the firm’s assets under management to c. €700 million. The fundraise launched in Q1 2020 and closed in Q2 2020.

One Peak, founded by Humbert de Liedekerke and David Klein in 2014, primarily targets significant minority investments in proven, rapidly growing European technology companies with global ambitions. The firm partners with Europe’s best entrepreneurs in scaling their businesses by providing growth capital, operating expertise through its value creation team, and access to its extensive network of relationships.

One Peak’s primary objective is to help European founders transform innovative businesses into lasting, category‐defining leaders.”

5. US – FinTech

Crowdfund Insider reports:

NextSeed is a securities crowdfunding platform that launched as a bank replacement – SME lending service operating under Reg CF. Over time, NextSeed has evolved offering additional services as well as facilitating capital under all three crowdfunding exemptions – Reg D 506c, Reg A+ as well as Reg CF.

In 2019, NextSeed became a broker-dealer as it sought to provide additional services as it moved beyond small business loans. Earlier this year, NextSeed added real estate securities as an option for entities in need of property development capital.

Founded by CEO Youngro Lee, NextSeed merged with Collaboration Capital in 2019 in a move to create a leading “technology-driven impact investment firm open to everyone.” In effect, the NextSeed merger with Collaboration creates a Fintech forward digital investment platform providing access to capital and access to opportunity for a broad-based investor base.”